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'We want to let them know that they're cared about and loved' | Volunteers take to Cleveland streets to help homeless community

The volunteers bring a hot meal and basic necessities like warm clothes, boots and tents to those experiencing homelessness.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Every Wednesday night, Bob Ukovic leads a group of volunteers that have been canvassing the city of Cleveland every Wednesday for the last 12 years.

They are known as the Knight Riders.

Ukovic is the President of Helping Hands Ministry at St. Paschal Baylon Catholic Parish in Highland Heights.

They bring a hot meal and basic necessities like warm clothes, boots and tents to those experiencing homelessness.

"We want to just get to know them and let them know that they're cared about and loved," said Ukovic.

"He's like family to me, he always comes in and bring me things like a radio and food," said Hector. Hector currently calls a wooded area under a Cleveland bridge home.

Paul Lilley, who is currently living in a tent with his wife, says, "We're getting there, one step at a time. Its been a year-and-a-half I've been homeless, 8 months here, the other 8 months or so we were in the van just riding around Walmart's or wherever we could sleep."

He's been doing all he can to get his family back on their feet.

"By God's grace I was able to get a job, now I'm working, so shortly we'll be moving out," Lilley said.

Lilley credits help from outreach groups like the Knight Riders and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless for the progress he's been able to make.

"If we could just bring up the woundedness from their brokenness and give them hope and love and encouragement to get up the next morning that's our job," Ukovic said.

It's a job that becomes even more important during the winter months, with a 'clientele' grateful beyond belief.

"I see a lot of bad everyday, a lot, stolen cars, shootings, it's bad, so for that it's nice, it's nice, there's still good people out there," Lilley said.

And with more winter storms on the way this week, Ukovic said the group doesn't plan to stop anytime soon. 

To learn more about volunteering or donating to the group, you can call St. Paschal's (440) 442-3410.

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